Boris Johnson rules out early election amid Tory popularity crisis
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The Labour MP and former shadow home secretary took part in yesterday’s episode of Broadcasting House. The news review show was discussing allegations surrounding Tory MP Chris Pincher when Ms Abbott made the astonishing claims.
Mr Pincher resigned as the Government’s deputy chief whip last Thursday after allegations he groped two males and was later suspended from the Conservative parliamentary party.
Asked if it was right that it had taken 24 hours for the Prime Minister to suspend the MP, Ms Abbott said there may have been quicker action if the allegations were about a male MP sexually assaulting a woman.
“It might be treated differently,” she said.
“But that’s because Boris Johnson has been rumoured to be the one who likes assaulting women.
“So it’s sheer hypocrisy from him.”
Ms Abbott’s comments were made despite no evidence to support them.
The deeply personal attack led the show’s host Paddy O’Connell scrambling to quickly intervene and distance the BBC from the claims.
He said: “That’s not been printed this morning, it’s not being said by the BBC.”
The broadcast added: “Diane, you’ve got to answer my questions rather than raising new claims.”
The episode of the radio show was removed from the BBC Sounds catch-up service following the allegations.
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A spokesman for ther corporation said: “For editorial reasons, we are editing today’s episode of Broadcasting House.
“We are working to make it available to listeners as soon as possible.”
The content was re-uploaded last night but with Ms Abbott’s slurs on Mr Johnson removed.
It still included the majority of the Hackney North MP’s views, including her quip: “Pincher by name, pincher by nature.”
Asked about whether sexual misconduct has always been a problem in Parliament, she added: “I think that we probably know more about it now than we knew 30 years ago.
“When I first became an MP there was very much the sense that Westminster was a club and what happened in Westminster stayed in Westminster, but with online, Twitter it’s very hard to keep things a secret.”
Downing Street declined to comment.
The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.
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